Saturday, August 22, 2009

First Recheck in Carey Clinic

Friday, August 21, 2009

Today was the second trips to Carey for Beetle Bugs recheck of her eye. As you can imagine, Friday traffic in the city was pretty heavy. The clinic office was busy as well. There were other pooches waiting their turn with a variety of illnesses. This clinic has surgical, cancer, emergency and optometric specialist. People come from all over the state to have their canines cared for at this Clinic.

As we walked in the door, the receptionist announced that Beetle Bug was there and she would let the Dr. know right away. We didn’t even sign in. Yeah, my baby must have left a big impression to be remembered by sight. Beetle made her pitiful whining sound, demanding attention from anyone who would listen. She got very good results. Passing by staff were only too happy to kneel down and give her some loving. Spoiled rotten!

We were escorted to the waiting room and the Dr. once again examined Beetle. She had good news to report. Bug’s eye infection was clearing nicely and responding to the antibiotics. The increased red blood vessels showed that her body was trying to repair the damage to her cornea, even though it's appearance is frightening. At a later time, this may need to be treated, but for now it is a good thing. I am to continue with medications, call in a week with an update and return in a couple weeks. So, for now, Beetle appears to be on the mend and if she continues to respond she will not require surgery.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Local Vet Calls

Sunday, August 16, 2009

The weather has been hot and rainy this past week. Beetle and Sassy (our 4 year old Yorkie pom mix) have been doing very little except sleep. Today I wanted to take them out for a walk, but wanted to wait until the sun wasn't so strong. I didn't want Beetle's eye to be even more irritated from the sunlight.

After dinner we prepared to go for their walk. Both dogs are extremely excited. One last check for house keys and the phone rings. It was our local vet. He wanted to know what the specialist diagnosed with Beetle. It was obvious that he was disturbed that he couldn't successfully treat her himself. I filled him in on the situation and assured him that he had taken appropriate care of her. Referring Beetle to a specialist was also the best for her. He was very interested in the treatment and new medication being tried. He asked if Beetle was improving. I told him that on some occasions I am encouraged as she opens her eye and appears happy. On other occasions her eye appears terribly sore and no improvement at all. We discuss how well dogs do in the event they do have the eye surgically removed. I just want to be mentally prepared if treatment does not work. At the end of the call I agreed to let him know what transpires at Beetle's recheck on Friday.

The dogs and my husband were patiently waiting for me in the front yard. Well, patiently isn't exactly true, to their credit, they did wait for me. When Beetle saw me emerge from the house she started to prance and whine. She was so ready to go.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Deadly Pharmacy Error

Friday, August 14, 2009

Today I took care of Beetles eye with her various eye medications, and set out to go to the pharmacy to pick up the prescription the vet called in the previous afternoon. The traffic was crazy. I finally arrived ready to run in and out. Ha! I was told they didn’t have the medication and wouldn’t have any until Monday. I shook my head and began to leave. No way. I got back in the long line to find out if I could get the prescription filled somewhere else. The lady behind the counter and called their other store. Nope, they didn’t have it either. I would have to locate somewhere else myself. I asked her to write down the name of the medication so I knew what to ask for. She handed me a piece of pager with the medication name with a 6% solution. OMG! No! This was suppose to be1%. She matter of factly said, "We have that in stock." I’m thinking “what, are you kidding me?” The 2% caused serious side effects and you were going to give me 6%. That surely would have killed my dog. Unshaken, she said she couldn’t read what was written as the prescription was called in. I couldn’t believe my ears. She said to move to the other window and she would bag my 1% medication. End of discussion. What more would I accomplish by making a scene? Needless to say, I will never use this pharmacy again.

I certainly learned a couple of good lessons today.

Pay attention to what your Dr. is saying about your medication. I was very fortunate that I knew 6% was deadly. Always, always, double check your medications. What if the prescription was filled, no questions asked and I had administered one single drop to my beloved Beetle? The guilt of killing her would be more than I could bear.

And finally, GOD does work in mysterious ways. How grateful I am that they didn’t have this 6% solution in stock and my questioning revealed this potentially deadly error. How often does this happen and death or injury is caused because of someone’s sloppy hand writing. I am so appalled that it could happen even one time.

When I got home I once again wrote all over the bottle and package with red marker, to make it clear this medication does not go in Beetles eye.

This afternoon I carefully examined the bottle for 1% and apprehensively placed a single drop onto a piece of peanut butter and jelly sandwich. From there I put more eye drops into her eyes and made sure to watch her for drooling or any other side effects. So far, so good. She will only get the one dose today. Tomorrow, I will try the twice a day as prescribed. If all goes well, I will continue all medications until our recheck appointment.

As an ending thought, poor Beetles eye still looks terribly red tonight. I pray it will improve tomorrow.

First Pharmacy Visit

Thursday, August 13, 2009

This morning I went to the pharmacy to get Beetle’s new prescription filled. They informed me it would take about 45 minutes, so I milled around the store until time was up. I went up to the counter and was told it wasn’t ready yet. Waited 15 more minutes and tried again. Nope, not yet. One more time. Well over an hour I finally got the prescription.

Immediately, when I got home I marked the bottle with red marker “Not 4 Eyes.” For human use, this medication is used in glaucoma patients. In canines, it is given a drop a dose in food. It is suppose to make glands create moisture. It has several side effects, is toxic and easy to be overdosed and can cause death. The vet said to start this 2% solution one drop into food twice a day.

I carefully placed one drop into a tablespoon of cat food. Beetle gladly accepted my offering. I administered her other eye drops and cleaned out ookie from her eye. She then settled down next to me in my chair as I watched television. A few minutes later I felt the cushion of the chair being wet. Beetle was drooling heavily. Frightened, I checked to see if she was ok. The vet told me of side effects and if they occurred to immediately discontinue use for 24 hours and reduce dosage. How can you reduce one drop? I made a phone call to the clinic in Carey and left a message for the vet.

Some time later she called me and said not to use it anymore, she would call in a lower dosage to 1% solution. She said some dogs can’t tolerate this medication at all. Not to start the new medication until the following afternoon.

The rest of the day was filled with several applications of drops and gels to her eye. I tried to keep her as comfortable as possible.

Our Trip To Eye Specialist in Carey

Wednesday, August 12, 2009
Today was our appointment in Carey. I had a great deal of anxiety. Not only did I fear that Beetle would lose her eye, but the trip itself. Neither Bug nor I are fans of car travel. It has been years since Beetle has been on a ride farther than a couple miles. This trip was going to take 2 ½ to 3 hours. The plan was for me to sit in the back seat while Poppie drove. I attached her leash to her harness and wrapped the leash around my lap seatbelt several times and added a couple loose knots. This was my idea of a makeshift doggie seat belt.

Beetle started the trip with her usual “singing” in the car. In reality it is whining until mom chimes in and the volume gets louder and more musical. Mummmmm-mummm-oooo. My lap was pretty much her preferred place to sit for most of the drive. The drive itself was mostly uneventful. We stopped a couple times for potty breaks and made real good time. The only problem was some confusion on what exit to take off I-40. Our GPS was insisting on one exit, my notes said another and a pamphlet provided by our local vet said yet another exit. My husband shook his head and said what one do we take? Being the woman I am I took the matter into my own hands. A cell phone was my weapon of choice. I called the clinic and advised the very friendly voice at the end of the line our dilemma. She gave very clear and easy directions that took us straight to their parking lot. Gotta love someone like that.

We entered the building a lot earlier than our scheduled appointment. I was armed with copies of recent vet bills and a bag full of Beetles medications. I knew they would ask me what kind of treatment she had received and there was no way I would remember any of it. My first impression of the facility was how inviting, clean, comfortable and how friendly everyone was. To my amazement there was a refreshment area prominently placed in the waiting area. To our delight there were freshly brewed individual coffees, juice, and soda. What a wonderful thing to have for weary pet owners coming from all over North Carolina. All for no charge, and we were encouraged to help ourselves.

The paperwork was even more surprising. A one page questionnaire with the pets name and referral already filled out. They only wanted our name, phone, problem Beetle was experiencing and her medications. Ha! I knew they would ask for medications. Nowhere did they ask me to sign my life away. How wonderful!

The staff was super friendly to both humans and pets alike. The short wait was easy with large comfortable benches and our refreshments in hand. They even provided free Wi-Fi for those so inclined to bring their laptops with them.

We didn’t even finish our coffee when we were escorted into an exam room. The tech confirmed our reasons for being there and promptly the Dr. entered the room. She was very kind and exuded confidence as she examined Beetle. She was sure of her diagnosis, rattled off several medical options. In the end, we decided to first try more antibiotics for her severe infection. Beetle has a condition of dry eye which was brought on by some sort of injury in the neck. The Dr. explained even a mild hit or turn could have caused the nerve damage, a permanent condition. This in turn made it so she does not produce tears. Even if we do manage to save her eye, she will require lifetime treatment of the eyes. If Beetle can live with that, so can I.

We left with new medications, a comprehensive print out of our consultation, medical options, medicine warnings and a new prescription to have filled back in Jacksonville, NC.
A scheduled follow up in 10 days will determine our next step.

Sometimes You Just Have To Write It Down

I know there are lots of people out there that write blogs every day. I am not one of them. There are however, events in my life that become so overwhelming that writing seems to help.

To you pet lovers out there, I will share my ongoing story of my Beetle Bug's new medical ordeals.

Two years ago when she was 8 years old she had to have an emergency spaying. I failed to get her spayed earlier because other older dogs and a cat were running up high vet bills. If it wasn't one, it was another. Beetle was healthy and had to wait her turn. Her turn did come in a frightning way. We nearly lost her. Her uterus had become infected. I had no idea that this is common for older pets. Spaying isn't for just preventing the rise in pet population. It is far safer for your little loved ones. Who knew?

Now that she is almost 11 years old, we have a new serious problem.

Beetle Bugs Eye Injury

On July 20th 2009, I noticed our 10 year old female chihuahua “Beetle Bug” was walking around with her right eye closed. I examined the eye and could see some sort of injury and it was really red from infection. I immediately called our local vet. It was determined she did have an ulcer on her cornea and the eye was infected and possible a respiratory infection. I had no idea how she injured it. It is possible our old mean cat scratched her, or maybe she rolled in the yard and a stick or pine needle scratched her eye. Beetle was prescribed antibiotic pills and eye drops. From that day on, vet visits averaged every two days for rechecks of her eye. Every time the was no improvement, new medications given to try each visit. I was relentless in chasing Beetle down to give her the prescribed medications. The vet bills have already exceeded our mortgage payments. This week the vet proclaimed despite his best efforts, treatment wasn’t working. Beetle needed a specialist in ophthalmology. The problem is, the nearest veterinary eye specialist was in Carey, NC. He agreed to try and get us an appointment, warning that in the past it has taken up to three months to be seen. Beetle needed to be seen as soon as possible. Her infection was severe. He left the room and later emerged and directed me to a phone to confirm an appointment. We got an appointment for two days away. I felt very fortunate. I am so worried for Beetle. She is in so much discomfort.